NBA Rookie Stock Watch: Is Harrison Barnes Back in the ROY Conversation?

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterJanuary 5, 2013

NBA Rookie Stock Watch: Is Harrison Barnes Back in the ROY Conversation?

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    Some rookies have thrived during the 2012-13 NBA season, while others can't seem to find their rhythm yet.

    If you've checked out this series before, you'll notice two fresh faces and some shuffling at the top of the rankings.

    (The number in the parenthesis is their previous ranking from the NBA Rookie Stock Watch on Jan. 1.)

    Stats updated from Jan. 3, 2013.

Best of the Rest

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    Pablo Prigioni, New York Knicks: Stock Up

    Prigioni racked up another nine-assist game, this time in a win over San Antonio. He was playing an extended role with Raymond Felton shelved.

    He's one of the sneakiest and brightest point guards in the league despite his inability to generate much offense for himself. It's not hard to understand why he is referred to as "Maestro."

    Chris Copeland, New York Knicks: Stock Down

    Copeland has struggled since Carmelo Anthony came back to the lineup. He's shot 2-of-10 over his last two games.

    Tyler Zeller, Cleveland Cavaliers: Stock Down

    Zeller played 36 minutes against Sacramento, finishing with eight points and eight boards. His impact on the game was minimal.

    Andrew Nicholson, Orlando Magic: Stock Down

    Nicholson's minutes have slipped after his 22-point outburst last week. He finished with six points against the Bulls.

10. (Unranked) Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards, SG

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    Stock Report: Up

    Last Week's Rank: Unranked

    Bradley Beal snapped out of a shooting funk, making a combined 6-of-11 from long range over his last two games.

    He scored 22 points against Dallas and 14 at Indiana, showing off that ability to knock down jumpers from across the floor.

    With nobody on the roster capable of creating open looks for teammates, Beal's shot selection has been suspect. He's rarely in a position to score an easy basket, and he is forced to rely heavily on contested mid-range jumpers.

    Beal should benefit greatly from John Wall's eventual return to the lineup.

9. (7) Jared Sullinger, Boston Celtics, PF

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    Stock Report: Down

    Last Week's Rank: 7

    After a couple of strong games in late December, Jared Sullinger opened up the new year with a two-point stinker against Memphis, fouling out in only 19 minutes.

    It's an adjustment process for Sullinger, who's suddenly the fourth scoring option on the floor. His role and offensive freedom changes on a game-by-game basis, which is common for someone this low in the pecking order.

    He has to get used to playing the role that calls for him to knock down catch-and-shoot mid-range jumpers, control the glass and finish inside. Doing those three things have allowed complementary guys like Kurt Thomas and Udonis Haslem to extend their careers this long.

8. (Unranked) Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors, SG

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    Stock Report: Up

    Last Week's Ranking: Unranked

    Welcome Terrence Ross to the party after his 26-point outburst in a blowout over Portland. He was stroking it from behind the arc, knocking down six threes in 25 minutes.

    Toronto was looking for a scoring 2-guard in the 2012 NBA draft, and after weeks of speculation that Austin Rivers was their man, the Raptors chose Ross at No. 8 overall.

    He's an electric athlete who isn't just a long-range specialist. Attacking the basket, Ross has a vertical leap which spells trouble for sitting ducks under the rim.

    Ross is the type of guy who needs minutes to build rhythm. As long as he gets them, expect Ross to remain relevant.

7. (8) Harrsion Barnes, Golden State Warriors, SF

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    Stock Report: Up

    Last Week's Rank: 8

    Harrison Barnes is on the rise. In a statement win over the Clippers, Barnes finished with 13 points, nine boards and four assists in a complete offensive effort.

    We've seen shades of Luol Deng in his perimeter game, with the ability to stretch the floor as a 3 and create mid-to-long-range jumpers off the dribble. It's just a plus when he's hitting the boards or creating scoring opportunities for teammates.

    He's a bright kid with excellent focus and intensity, and that goes a long way when trying to make the transition from college to the pros. Barnes is a strong candidate to make that rookie-to-sophomore leap and join Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis as one of the top players in the draft class.

6. (5) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats, SF

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    Stock Report: Down

    Last Week's Ranking: 5

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist hasn't played in 2013 yet and missed the last game of 2012 with a scratched cornea.

    He scored 22 points on an impressive 11 made field goals on Dec. 29, and his motor is always off the charts.

    With minimal shot-creating tools on the perimeter, Kidd-Gilchrist is using his speed, aggression, athleticism and coordination to make things happen all over the court.

    He's a human Tasmanian devil, creating mayhem and havoc at whatever spot on the floor he graces.

5. (6) Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers, SG

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    Stock Report: Up

    Last Week's Ranking: 6

    The Cavaliers have put Dion Waiters in a role that's much better suited for his game, whether he likes it or not. Waiters is coming off the bench as the sixth man, the same role he flourished in as a sophomore at Syracuse.

    He scored 20 points on eight made field goals against the Kings, playing mostly on the ball as a shoot-first gunner.

    Waiters is the most potent scorer of anyone in his draft class. It's just a matter of tightening up his shot selection and improving his percentages as a volume scorer. J.R. Smith and Jamal Crawford present similar offensive packages as spark-plug reserves who get fourth-quarter minutes.

4. (4) Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons, PF/C

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    Stock Report: Steady

    Last Week's Rank: 4

    Andre Drummond continues to make the most of every minute he's given. Without much offensive polish, he's using his unmatchable physical tools to contribute possession by possession.

    In 21 minutes against Sacramento, Drummond pulled in 11 rebounds and swatted three shots. His athleticism from the center position is what makes him unique.

    Just about all of his contributions come off the ball, which allows Lawrence Frank to insert him whenever the team needs an energy boost.

    Assuming Drummond only gets better from here on out, he has a very bright future in the NBA.

3. (3) Alexey Shved, Minnesota Timberwolves, PG/SG

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    Stock Report: Steady

    Last Week's Rank: 3

    The Alexey Shved show refuses to go off the air. He put up 17 points, five assists and four rebounds in a road win over the Nuggets, displaying balance as a scorer and playmaker off the dribble.

    Shved is incredibly clever and crafty, which helps offset some of his athletic limitations. His vision, poise and high basketball IQ continue to shine while the team eases Ricky Rubio back into the rotation.

    His consistency has helped him stand out among some of the more highly coveted draft picks from the 2012 class.

2. (1) Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets, PF/C

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    Stock Report: Down

    Last Week's Ranking: 2

    Anthony Davis has now gone three straight games without scoring in double digits. Streaks like these are bound to happen to players who struggle at creating their own shots.

    Davis has been limited to making plays off the ball. While he's awfully good at it, those type of scoring opportunities don't always present themselves on a consistent basis.

    In terms of two-way impact, Davis is clearly at the top of his class with his ability to blocks shots and crash the boards. But his scoring numbers are likely to fluctuate until he improves his offense off the dribble.

1. (2) Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, PG

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    Stock Report: Up

    Last Week's Rankings: 2

    Up three points with the shot clock running out and 35 seconds in the game, Damian Lillard sized up Pablo Prigioni and nailed a 25-foot dagger to sink the Knicks in his first game at Madison Square Garden.

    You'd have no idea this kid was a rookie if you're watching him for the first time, as he continues to make veteran plays as a scorer and orchestrator.

    Lillard finished with 21 points, six assists and five boards in a road win over the Knicks. He had 18 points, seven assists and five boards against Toronto.

    His ability to lead as a floor general has helped him leapfrog Anthony Davis as the top rookie in the 2012 NBA draft class.


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